Nissan to pack car with high tech navigation gadgets

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TOKYO -- A warning for all those people who curse at their cars while driving--come the 21st century, Nissan cars are going to talk back.

Nissan Motor Co. has announced that from 2001, its cars can be equipped with 30 different electronic gadgets that offer everything from on-line karaoke to computer generated verbal driving directions based on global positioning systems.

The new system is called ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) Car 2001-i, which the company says "creates a driving environment that makes it possible for driving to be carried out as the driver wishes, satisfying the diverse needs and desires of car drivers and passengers as they travel."

Or, to put it more simply, everyone gets a chance to have a few James Bond gadgets in their cars.

For example, driving information will be given through a voice dialogue interface. All the driver has to do is ask the car for directions and the car will respond.

In addition, blind spots are covered by cameras outside the car and real-time traffic information is always on call. The system equips cars with sensors and cameras that will help drivers maneuver through Japan's crowded streets and safely park in tight spaces. Mobile phone users can use their cell phones to start their cars and check if the doors are locked, and cameras will record what happened 10 seconds before and after an accident.

Nissan said the system will be on cars in Japan from 2001 and it should cost between $2,000-$2,750.

Toyota Motor Co. launched its own real time traffic information and entertainment system in Japan last year.

Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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